Stockholm university
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Master's Programme in Social-ecological resilience for sustainable development

Our Master’s programme in Social-Ecological Resilience for Sustainable Development is a research-focused programme that introduces you to the complexity of interactions between humans and nature. You learn to use resilience thinking as an approach to understanding and managing social-ecological systems.

The programme aims to enhance your understanding of the complex interactions between social and ecological dynamics at different scales and in the context of change and uncertainty. You are introduced to different research approaches and methods for studying coupled social and ecological systems. You do this in an international and highly interactive learning environment. The aim is to provide our students with insights into problem-driven transdisciplinary environmental research, in order to contribute to the research in this field and to address real-world problems.

Reasons to choose

  • Broad training in methods for studying the complexities of social-ecological systems
  • Emphasis on how resilience thinking can be applied to solve real-world problems
  • International and highly interactive learning environment where you develop skills and networks
  • Programme overview

    The programme is a 2-year, full-time study where you attend four mandatory courses the first year that provide broad training in concepts, theories and methods for studying the complexities of social-ecological systems. In the second year, you will develop and conduct your own research. This research will form the basis of your Master’s thesis which will relate to one or more of the research themes at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and usually compliments on-going research. Our ambition is that your research will be publishable in peer-reviewed journals.

    Year 1

    Compulsory courses

    Social-Ecological Systems: Challenges and Approaches

    Systems Theory and Resilience Thinking

    Governance and Management of Social-Ecological Systems

    Resilience Reflections and Applications

    In addition to the compulsory courses you have 7.5 credits of optional courses in the and of spring semester, these can be in another subject area.

    Year 2

    Compulsory course

    Degree project in Social-ecological resilience for sustainable development 60 credits.

    Independent project

    Master’s degree projects are usually incorporated within ongoing research projects related to the current research themes and streams at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

    Recent degree projects

    • Mapping the supply and demand of ecosystem services in the Helge å catchment area, Sweden
    • Learning to bridge conservation and development: A case study from the environmental monitors programme in Kruger to Canyons biosphere reserve
    • Revealing distal drivers in coral reef social-ecological systems. Mapping land grabbing and human migration at a global scale
    • Exploring tools to promote pro-environmental behaviour. Can behavioural insights from psychology and behavioural economics be utilized to increase the recycling of food waste in Hökarängen, Sweden?
  • How to apply

    The Master's programme in Social-ecological resilience for sustainable development is only open for application in the first round, with deadline for applications in mid-January.

    Social-ecological resilience for sustainable development is a transdisciplinary programme. Therefore we aim to achieve a student group with diverse backgrounds, as we believe this creates the best environment for learning about sustainability. This means that all majors are eligible for the programme. However, the programme is highly competitive and the relevance of your background affects your chances of being selected (see Selection process below).

    Selection process

    Additional eligibility criteria

    Applicants that meet the eligibility requirements are ranked based on their merit rating. Only students with the highest merit ratings are selected for our programmes. The merit rating is based on the following five selection criteria, with equal weight:

    • relevance of previous studies in relation to the programme
    • relevance of any work experience
    • grades of academic courses
    • motivation letter
    • research ideas

    Required supporting documentation

    To submit your motivation letter and research ideas you must use our cover letter form (updated yearly, only latest version accepted).

    Cover letter/Motivation letter
    Note! Must be submitted by the supporting documentation deadline. The form is only available during the application period, upto the supporting documentation deadline.

    Recommendation letters and CVs are not concidered.

  • Career opportunities

    The MSc programme serves as good preparation for continuation to PhD studies within social-ecological systems and sustainability. It opens up potential careers in governmental ministries and local administrative authorities, NGO’s and research institutes, or working with indigenous rights. In the private sector, job possibilities exist in consulting agencies and companies world wide.

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor at master's level